Protective Factor 2

Develop Social Connections

When parents have an informal network of trusted friends in their community, they have a support system for meeting both practical and emotional needs. They can brainstorm about problems together, give and receive back-up child care, and help meet unexpected needs such as transportation. As a social group, parents provide each other with norms for how family and community issues should be handled.

Early childhood professionals can partner with parents in building a community within the program. Together, they can plan simple activities like potluck dinners or group sports. Some programs find that setting out coffee and donuts one morning a month provides an invaluable forum for parents to get to know each other. Staff can find out what parents’ interests and needs are and then offer workshops or self-help groups on those topics or simply introduce parents to others who have the same interests or concerns.